Stickman's Weekly Column January 13th, 2008

The Adventures Of An Online Voyeur


I am fascinated by the concept of online dating. I have been a participant and have watched the progression of online dating in Thailand, from the early days of free real time chat programs like ICQ to the primitive web based chat boards like Bangkok Chat, to the almost Thai only chat services and on to the more sophisticated sites popular today like ThailandFriends.com.

As I have written in the past, the online world provides an ideal opportunity for Western men to meet Thai women, given the local women's nervousness meeting farangs in public.

In the past I looked at why cyberspace is palatable to Thai women and how to actually meet these women online, whereas today I want to look more closely at the emerging phenomenon of voyeurism amongst Thai women online. Yes, rumour has it that there are all sorts of shenanigans going on in between Western blokes and Thai birds, not just in the short-time hotels surrounding Sukhumvit, but in the cyber world too.

A Swiss buddy has regaled me with tales of success online. I didn't doubt him for a moment. He's a sophisticated guy, better looking and better presented than most and he has the charm of a professional playboy.

With a bit of free time on my hands, I decided I would check it out. What would happen when the Stick went online in pursuit of Thai voyeurs?

I am reliably informed that everything has moved away from the free sites. If you want the best that Thailand has to offer, you have to go for one of the many pay sites. So I did something I have never done before and dived into my wallet. Extracting my credit card, I entered the magic numbers into the site and voila, I now had a one month membership.

I created a profile, entered my details and it didn't take long before I was being bombarded with women sending messages. Email addresses would be swapped and we would take the conversation into MSN Messenger.

Now this is where things would get interesting. My Swiss mate had told me that you could determine very quickly what she was up for. While it is never a good idea with Thai women to "go for the kill" right away, a few suggestive comments would determine what she was interested in. Comments such as "I feel naughty today" would elicit a response that would let you know just what she was up for.

So long as such comment was not made too quickly, seldom did it put anyone off. Something a little more direct, or crass, such as "Are you up for a shag, honey" may have put the masses off, but a little subtlety went a long way.

So the negotiation starts in online chat. If you are looking for a girlfriend or a genuine relationship, you would keep the conversation well away from the naughty stuff and simply try to find out more about the person you are talking with. But this was not the case with me. I was conducting an experiment and I tried to steer the conversation in the direction of the naughty stuff fairly quickly.

At this stage, if an old school Thai was aware of what was going on, they would claim that no decent Thai woman would even entertain such an idea, but that is old school Thais and Thailand has changed drastically.

Back to the conversations. I quickly established that a high percentage of Thai women are interested in meeting a guy they have never seen for sex. I could not believe it, but all you need is a good picture of you, one which shows you are not unpleasant on the eyes and they are interested. Back this up with a few minutes on webcam it can be verified that the picture you send was not taken years ago when you used to be young and handsome and THEY ARE UP FOR IT.

I don't want to pepper the article with expletives, but the language some used would have made a porn movie scriptwriter proud. Some women clearly got excited at the prospect and were not shy to go into great detail. Personally, I found it off-putting, although I did not let that on to them.

Things got interesting Saturday last week. They say that when it rains it pours and at one point I had 4 women who wanted to meet me for sex. None had ever seen me before although they had seen one single picture and I gave them a couple of minutes on the webcam. A couple were very attractive.

While it was me who made the proposal of getting together for fun, these girls are up for it big time. Some cannot even wait to see you and will turn on their webcam and perform for you. I kid you not. One particular vixen decided she wanted to bear all, and things got about as steamy as it is possible with her stripped off and leaping around on her sofa into all sorts of positions. I kid you not.

As amusing as this all may be, it does get rather frustrating chatting with the girls. I thought things were going to reach a crescendo when one girl said to me "Do you help sexual myself?", which I thought was her tongue twisted effort at saying that she was going to perform for the camera, before I realised that she meant something quite different. The level of English is not that good and if you can read Thai things move along a lot faster.

I did not play the game for long this time round, but the target market, the women who seem to be the real voyeurs, seem to be Thai women aged 24 – 28. There's real hunger and some have a sex drive that would make the keenest of sex tourists proud.

But not all are up for no strings attached fun. Far from it and there are some real gold diggers out there. One woman, a rather fat and not particularly attractive creature suggested that guys love to spoil her and that I should join the club and spoil her too! She wanted a PDA at 20,000 baht and told me that if I bought it for her she would then spoil me, whatever the hell that meant. She was the online equivalent of a Nana girl, asking a ridiculous price and offering little, proof that the money girls have discovered cyberspace.

The whole online thing is a great way for guys with a lot of time on their hands to pass away the time. For me, I found it hard work chatting with many, even when I told them that it was ok to chat in Thai. They were obviously entertaining a bunch of guys and their responses were slow. OK, so I can't complain because I was doing the same but my typing and ability to jump from window to window was much quicker than theirs. Then you get the girls with poor English – many – the girls from the provinces. Much of the conversation is inane.

For sure there is huge opportunity to seek sex online in Bangkok, and while it may be cheaper than hitting the bars of Sukhumvit, what you save in money you pay for in time. Add to that the head games and it just gets too much. Being a successful swordsman is about telling a woman what she wants to hear and frankly, that is not really my style. Telling someone what she wants to hear to get her knickers down is what you do in your early '20s, not later in life.

No two days in the online world are the same. One day you can have women all over you and others it can be dead. There seems to be little pattern to it although weekend late mornings and early afternoons seem to be rather auspicious times!

Many women have profiles that suggest that they are very much motivated to find a boyfriend but in fact they would be just as happy with a quick bonk, while others are clearly searching for a sugar daddy. For many Thai playing the online game – and that is what it is, a game – what is stated in their profile and what they actually want are often quite different.

If you're pursuing hanky panky online, a lot of it comes down to timing. Some girls are easy and some are hard work. More than a few have been spoiled. The dynamic is not that indifferent from the bar scene with large numbers of guys fighting for the most attractive girls – and the girls know it. This results in the price getting pushed up to silly levels. Very much like the bar scene, the online world is to be enjoyed. I wouldn't take it too seriously.

There's fun to be had online if you have the time, and there really are some real voyeurs out there. I can't help but feel that despite their protestations, modern Thai women are not at all dis-similar to modern Western women.



Where was this picture taken?


Last week's picture was taken of two lovely ladies crossing the walkway connecting Siam Discovery Centre with Siam Centre. Many people thought it was the walkway adjoining the National Stadium BTS station with Mahboonkrong. Right neighbourhood, wrong spot. Others thought it was at the old airport. Miles away! Due to the pictures seemingly being more difficult for readers to guess in recent weeks I have made this week's a lot easier – or at least so I think. The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British Fish And Chips restaurant and the second wins a free jug of margarita, valued at 840 baht from Charley Brown's, a well-established, popular restaurant, offering authentic Tex-Mex Cuisine and delicious margaritas. Charley Brown's is located in the small sub-soi off Sukhumvit Soi 11.

FROM STICK MARK II'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick Mark II.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Has Thailand changed you for the better?

I am far more tolerant of people, services and life in general since coming to Thailand. I treat animals better (or am I just scared of soi dogs?). I have greater respect for people's beliefs even though I differ in my spirituality. I am more charitable, and my faith in humanity has been raised significantly since seeing how the poor can sometimes live peacefully and not be dragged into aggressive, criminal ghettos like we see in the west. Thank you Thailand, you have probably reduced my chance of a heart attack due to my western stressed life (although your cheap beer has probably balanced that out).

Hi-so sophisticate vs. country bumpkin.

In your commentary on the idiosyncrasies of Thai women you often noted the differences between city and country-girl attitudes. One morning, in my early days in Bangkok, I woke up with a stunning "lo-so" girl in my bed – and my stunning hi-so girlfriend banging on the front door. When I refused her demand to march in and have it out with the girl in my bed, the hi-so girl said I had a choice to make, right there. So, polite but imperious city girl? Or sweet, straightforward, and sorta goofy country girl? My gut was still recovering from a boozy night, but it spoke clearly that morning – and five years later the country girl is going strong. We're in the States now, and country girl has made the adapt action brilliantly. She's got a good job and a work ethic her American colleagues admire. Now, when I think about the city girl, I realize that there is no way she would have made it over here. Her attitude just wouldn't wash in a country where classism is extremely distasteful, and I strongly suspect I'd be run ragged trying to make her happy. It was a hell of a morning, and a snap decision that turned out to be the smartest move I ever made.

Sulking and immaturity.

I have just read your article from Sunday's weekly and thought it very good. The one thing that I would have added would be the immaturity and sulks by Thai ladies when they don't get their own way. Most Asian women lack a 'spirit of adventure' and almost always play safe, which can be very frustrating. Just a cultural thing I guess.

Don't go looking for anything too deep.

What I've noticed, even with the classier women, is a great deal of shallowness and an inability to have rational conversations and debates. The conversation is never deep and every time I've tried to have one of these conversations on serious topics such as environment, politics, religion, etc, the conversation usually grinds to a halt because they have nothing or very little to add. This is the same with my well-educated wife who pulls down a great salary by Thai standards and more than most farangs living here.

Spoiled by westerners?

I will agree with you 100% regarding Thai girls and their expensive and wasteful restaurant habits, but I will go further to say that most of those girls got that way because of too many foreigners throwing their money around. The more time I spend with the local girls, the less problems I have. The Thai girls that can't speak much English (and / or haven't been around foreigners) are more likely to treat foreigners no different than they would a Thai man. And they will all tell you Thai men don't have money. I am surprised how many are willing to share the cost of a date.

The uninvited friend issue.

Your column last week most certainly missed the most well-known bad habit of a Thai girl. When you ask her on a date, she quite possibly will show up with uninvited friends. You have to make it clear that you have made plans for the two of you. Funnily enough, it always seems to happen with ladies of the night. The local girls who have little exposure to foreigners have never caused me such grief. In fact, one 21 year old I dated told me how her friends "taught" her how to treat foreigners and get them to pay for everything, including her friends' night out.

The importance of language and understanding.

I think that where many guys trip up is in their expectations of exactly what they are looking for in a relationship with a Thai woman. If they are after a sex slave, most are doomed to failure. If they are after a lifetime companion they can travel with, laugh at the same jokes with, bring up children together with, and who will not leave them to upgrade to a richer man, then it is essential that one of the partners speaks the other's language fluently. Thai women have a lot going for them provided you choose the right one.

Are the upsides that great?!

I am generally amazed by the degree of hidden and not-so-hidden disgruntlement with the Land of Smiles and its illustrious inhabitants in general. In any other country in the world, people quite so cheesed-off would have upped sticks and left long ago. I can only imagine, therefore, that balancing it all out are some fantastic advantages, which keep people glued to the country despite its shortcomings.

It's high season and hotels in the popular tourist spots are packed. The bars aren't however and this confirms a trend which started a few years back and become more obvious in the 2006 / 2007 high season when the mix of visitors to Thailand started to change.

The owners of Champagne Club, located next to Bully's, have handed back the keys after not being able to satisfy their financial obligations. Boss Hogg had no advance notice and several items belonging to him were removed in the middle of the night. They left a nominee Thai managing director holding the bag. The business is equipped and the Boss owns the contents. He is looking for someone to lease the premises for a 5 year term with any concept that would be compatible with Bully's, the bar next door.

The bar owners screaming that the take was down this year compared to what they made in the silly season last year aren't joking. Most venues were 20-30% down on New Year's Eve compared to last year.

For smokers, enjoy puffing away with impunity while you can because from February 11 smoking will be banned in all restaurants and bars nationwide. Word on the street is that enforcement of the smoking ban will be widespread – and that includes spots popular with farangs.

Johnny the frog, AKA Eric the clock of Hollywood fame, has flown the coop from England and is apparently back in Thailand in exile.

It was suggested that I check out some of the second tier bars at Nana this week but boy oh boy, do I regret doing it. G Spot was dead and some of the staff were dreadfully rude, so bad in fact that I left with more than half a bottle of beer remaining. Pretty Lady is known for its mirrors which allow you to look at you know what but that is also in a sorry state, with masking tape covering the cracks in some of the mirrors. Both bars, each at different times the most popular bar in Nana, were very quiet on Friday night. In fact it was hard to believe that it was Friday, so quiet was it. Nana seems to have become an area with two tiers of bars. You know the good places, I mention them most weeks. Pretty much everywhere else could only be considered second tier.

Hillary 2 Bar will host popular Thai singer Sek Loso on February 2nd. Loso is many a farang's favourite Thai artist – even if you aren't familiar with him, it'll be worth checking out.

Angelwitch's improvements are packing them in. The popular show bar used to fill up a bit after 10 PM but it's busy now not much after 9 with most seats gone well before 9:30. Their change in policy is paying dividends.

Down in Phuket, prices have been creeping up and it seems that the girls are getting in on the act too. Some of the girls beneath the Tiger Disco in Patong have been demanding barfines of 1,000 baht. Mortgages for the deed itself must be reaching scary levels.

I can confirm that Bus Stop in Soi 4 is still a very good choice for those on a budget. 80 baht Beer Lao all night and a very decent cheeseburger at just 75 baht go well together. The girls are less hardcore and overall the staff are generally pleasant. Actually, all the way down Soi 4 you can find bars with much more wallet friendly prices than what you find in Nana Plaza itself.

The After Dark Asia dance contest in Pattaya has been put back one week. It won't be January 15th but rather the 22nd. It will be held at 1 AM which technically makes it the 23rd at Hammer Disco. How popular it will be at that time and that place, who knows?! Hammer Disco is located between Soi 14 and Soi Diamond and many people can't find it because it is upstairs in the second level. In fact it is so hard to find that the Thai police will probably never find it either!

Immigration in Bangkok requires those extending their marriage visa to submit four photos of their residence, with both you and your teeruk clearly pictured in all four shots. One photo must be of you standing outside the building, with the dwelling in the background. The other three must include each of you in different locations inside the residence.

Wonders never cease. Bangkok Pattaya Hospital has actually reduced some of its fees – perhaps after it gained much consternation for the massive hikes it made in 2007. The cost of a room has dropped markedly and the prices charged for many drugs have dropped too.

Call me price sensitive, but I am starting to get really fed up at the massive price increases we see on various products and services in Thailand, often with no discernible reason for it and no corresponding increase in services offered, quality, or anything like that. A case in point is a particular restaurant I like which has put up the price of corkage for a bottle of wine from 500 baht to 1,000 baht. 1,000 baht for corkage? Most of the better restaurants tend to charge around 500 baht a bottle for corkage but many will in fact waive it if you run up a large bill.

The phenomenon of girls agreeing to go long time with a customer, agreeing on a long time price, and then disappearing after an hour with one of the usual excuses ("My mother sick", "My sister lose key to loom" or "My buffalo ate som tum too spicy and go toilet too much") yet demanding the long time fee is a growing problem in Bangkok. There is an easy way out. If you negotiate a long time fee that she is keen on, tell her that you will pay x baht for long time and x baht for short-time, where the short-time figure is at the low end of the acceptable scale. That way, if she does play games – and apparently many do these days, especially out of big name Nana Plaza bars, then you have at least covered yourself to some extent. Guys who agree only a long time fee and then she bolts after an hour have found themselves in great difficulty negotiating a new rate…and for sure, things get difficult.

Readers often ask me for good deals on accommodation in Bangkok but it is hard to answer. I mean, as a resident of the city, I do not use the city's hotels and so am hardly the person to ask. But one property I consistently hear very good things about is the President Solitaire which is said to be a 5 star property at a 3 1/2 star price. What's more, they have high speed internet as a standard feature so you can get your daily Stickman fix! More details here.

I am told that there are at least 3 Farang Connections bars in Thailand, each one individually owned and operated and totally independent from the others. There are goodness only knows how many Honey Hotels in Thailand. I wonder if there is a Honey Hotel in every major centre in Thailand. There aren't of course, but there sure are many. There are also many Bamboo Bars. When I write in this column about particular venues, you can assume that it is the Bangkok outlet. I am not always up-to-date on what is going on around the country and obviously most interest is in what is going on in Bangkok.

If you find yourself on a visa run or in Vientiane or perhaps topping up your wine collection, there is a free wi-fi spot there. Vista wi-fi Cafe, Open 8:00 – 22:30 daily, Ban Mixay 011 Francois Ngin Road. It is located across the street from the Tai Pan Hotel. It's a good connection and not crowded at all.

Here's a chance to rent a double shop unit located on Soi Rambuttri, right near Khao San Road. The premises are part of a hotel / resort complex which boasts year round high occupancy and the shop units are situated next to one of the busiest restaurants in the area thus increasing the amount of potential customers. The premises would be suitable for a dental clinic, tailor's shop, travel agency, internet shop etc. Units in the area are very hard to come by so don't miss this great chance. For full details contact: 081-4040 220 (English) or 089-4882 300 (Thai) or email [email protected]

The poor Americans suffering the dollar's continued decline have not had their New Year's wishes realised as the dollar continues to dive, losing another 1.5% against the baht since the start of this year, that is a period of less than 2 weeks. The baht's increase in value has insulated Thailand against increasing oil prices. I fear that if the dollar strengthens much against the baht, or the baht takes a hit, that the cost of petrol at the pumps will jump further – and that is not good for anyone. At 32 – 33 baht a litre, petrol is 4 times the price, in baht terms, of what it was when I first came here! I think the Thais are in a difficult situation. They want to devalue the baht to stimulate imports and to a lesser extent tourism, but to do so will push up the price of petrol – and the flow on effect from that is that EVERYTHING moves up in price!

After a great response last year, The Boathouse is running its second writing competition. This year they've expanded the competition with the addition of a students category and a workshop to be run on 11/12 March conducted by well-known crime fiction writer Jake Needham. Last year they received several entries through this site. It would make my day if someone from here won it. You can send your entry to : [email protected].
* The contest is open to all.
* Stories can be on any subject but must have a Thai theme or Thai flavour.
* Stories should be original and not have been published previously.
* 1,000 and 1,500 words.
* The following three key words must appear in the story: Boathouse, Phuket and mango.
* Spelling: English (UK), single spacing, font Arial 12.
* Write your name, address, telephone number, email address and age on the first page.
* The deadline for entries Part 1: 29 February 2008.

The New York Times ran this article on street food in Bangkok this week.

The Independent ran this article on the Brits murdered in Thailand since 2003.

Here's an article from the Northampton Chronicle about a British madam charged with trafficking Thai women to sell their body in the UK.

A reader's friend's wife came out with a good quote last week. While looking around a 'normal' bar (non bar fine place) she said, "You would have to pay a lot of money to get one of these girl's love".

Ask Mrs. Stick

Mrs. Stick returns after a lengthy sojourn to help you with your relationship and culture questions and the things that baffle you about life in Thailand. She accepts questions on matters of the heart or cultural misunderstandings. Her answers are entirely her own without any influence or editing by me. She looks forward to reading and answering your questions, so please give her a big welcome by sending in some thought-provoking things.

Question 1: I have a Thai fiancée whom I am planning to bring to the US via a fiancée' visa. From time to time I get upset at her because of the money issue. It is not because she asks for money, but how she spends it. Every month, she gets about 22,000 baht. She lives in a house but does not have to pay rent. Her monthly expenses are electricity, gas, cable, telephone, mobile (12Call) and water. She has two young boys (5 and 3) and uses the money to feed them. This month was her birthday as well as the new year. I knew she would be spending a little more because of this. However, on a recent trip to the market, she wanted to buy black shirts for herself and the two boys. I told her that's fine. I talked to her later that day and she told me that she had bought 16 shirts for herself! I asked her how much money she had left for the month and she told me 3,600 baht (She only had 12,000 from January 1 and I was going to give her the rest of the money on the 15th). She also said that she had not paid the monthly bills yet. Do Thai girls know the value of money and how to manage it? We argued about this a week ago and she just doesn't think before she spends money. She is not reckless with the money. She is responsible in that she doesn't go drinking or partying. She takes care of the two boys but just doesn't seem to think about how much money she has and how to manage it? Can you help me understand?

Mrs. Stick says: From my point of view, knowing the value of money is a personal issue. It's got nothing to do with Thai girls or white men. Buying 16 shirts for herself at once is nonsense, especially when she has two kids to take care of. Maybe she might have done this because she has you as a back up. The point being how often has she spends money on nonsense stuff, and whether this is her habit or just a mistake. You are going to have to deal with both cases anyway. I can’t tell you how, because you know her the best and how to resolve this.

Question 2: During the first year of our marriage my wife was very insecure about our relationship. Nearly every other night she would dream that I had left her for another woman. 3 years on and now living in the west my wife still has this type of dream with different scenarios at least once a week. I am her first and only so the insecurity is not from being burnt in the past. She has told me her biggest fear was that one day she would find out that I had a mia noi. Also I think this insecurity stems from her upbringing as she told me that during her childhood her mother would always introduce her as the "ugliest of my 5 daughters". She grew up thinking that no man would ever love her because of how she looked and that's why she did not date until she met me at age 29. By the way she is now a very attractive woman, a real late bloomer. Do you think this insecurity is due to the culture of mia nois?

Mrs. Stick says: I would say it’s a combination of reasons, either her insecurity about herself, or the culture of mia nois, especially in Thai culture but that also includes some farangs who live in Thailand. If you are sure that it’s not from your characteristics (you know some people have this extreme charming and flirtatious nature), a mistake you ever made in the past (but I do not think so according to your explanation), then she has to work on this. Feeling insecure is the worst enemy to a couple's life and nobody can do anything about it except herself. The best you can do is to help her be more confident about herself. Good luck.

Question 3: I have a question on the custom of Thais offering food to others. I've noticed it is just about a given that if you walk into a room where someone is eating or on a bus or train and a stranger is eating a snack, they always offer to share it with you. I recently read the book 'Bangkok 8' where the author touches on this subject briefly, but states it goes much deeper than mere politeness or manners. Would you please elaborate on this.

Mrs. Stick says: Maybe I am the wrong person to ask but I’ll try. When I was young, when we were eating and we had guests show up unannounced (and you have to understand this is common with Thai people, especially upcountry), my mum would try everything to make them join us (which I wasn’t very happy about either because I didn’t want to share my food nor did I want to eat with somebody I was not close to). Sometimes you do not have explanations on how certain groups of people do things. It just happens!

The column has long reached a point where a new direction is needed. I feel we are starting to go over the same old stuff, time and time again. While this column (along with the readers' contributions) has made progress in helping to discover and unlock the secrets to a successful and happy life in Thailand, I feel that we are now going round and round in circles. There are a few truths that have to be said if continued progress is to be made, but that presents a dilemna. Some of what needs to be said is perhaps best not talked about. It's difficult…



Yours,

Stick Mark II